2016

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2016 // noglitternoglory.comnye sparkles

Happy 2016 folks, hope the new year is going well for you so far! 2015 kicked my ass in many ways and I’m not sad to see it go. I’m curious, excited and a bit anxious about what 2016 will bring. I already know it will be a year of big changes for me, but more on that later!

2016 // noglitternoglory.comPink and red christmas with Lily and the Lady, Bimba y Lola and Marlies Dekkers.

I quickly wanted to share my New Years resolution with you here along with a couple of snaps from my holiday break. No gym goals, or career goals or travel goals in particular at the moment, just one thing that will likely influence all of the above: Respect my own boundaries a lot more and take better care of myself. Shouldn’t be such a hard task right, but I fear for most of us it actually is harder than it seems and oh so important.

It’s something I also wish for all of you, and I hope you have a spectacular year! How about you? Did you make any resolutions this year?

The Pause Button

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Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

H

i guys, it’s been over a month since I’ve posted my last blog entry. The truth is I’ve opened my WordPress backend a couple of times, more or less out of habit, but have resisted the urge to actually write and publish. I’ve been blogging for the better part of the last ten years, so I kind of forgot how not to.
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Young Creatives: Itza Bocken

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tza Bocken is nothing if not the full package. Smart, nice, beautiful and she has a kick ass entrepreneurial sense. Back in 2010, while many of her peers were doing nothing but partying and sleeping in, she was already starting up her first company Made By Chickies with friend/ business partner Evelyne Dumon. 5 years and an MBA in Beijing later, Itza is back with a new retail concept called Momoco, ready to solve all your bikini problems. Time to get to know Itza and learn all about her plans for her new brand!

I’m currently in the process of launching a crazy dream: creating the perfect bikini.

Dairy free Blood Orange & Meringue dessert

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Elisabeth chocolatier Brussels

When Stephanie invited me to a lovely food workshop with Belgian chocolatier Elisabeth, I was a bit torn. I’ve never really discussed this on the blog, but I’ve had myself tested for food intolerances for over two years ago, and since then, I’ve been following a diet without dairy, chocolate, tomato and peppers. I made the decision after years of stomach problems, and instead of trying to fix the situation only by taking medication, I wanted to change something at the base of my problem.

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So I signed up for yoga to help me calm down and de-stress, and I committed to those dietary restrictions. I’m proud to say that till this day, I’ve stuck to both my yoga practice and my diet. I’ve even stuck to it so well that my doctor informed me recently he no longer found any reactions from my body to tomatoes and peppers, so I was quite happy to discover they could go back on the menu. My stomach will always be my weak spot, but I’m definitely pleased that I’m no longer nauseous 90% of the time.

Elisabeth chocolatier Brussels

Ok back to the point. I told Stephanie that sadly, I had to pass on this offer for this reason, but she happily informed me that Elisabeth offers far more than only chocolates and they would be happy to provide me with some suitable options. Now we’re talking! And I thought it might be interesting to share these experiences from my point of view.

Elisabeth chocolatier Brussels

I was happy to discover the wide options in store for me ranging from meringue to nougat and cuberdons, and I was pleased to learn all about Elisabeth’s approach to food. Their offerings are almost all Belgian and very high in quality, all products they sell are made with love. Only the nougat was made outside the country if I remember correctly, but it was well worth making an exception for, it is crazy good (go for the one with salted caramel, drool).

At Les Filles, I made two delicious sweet treats that both contained no dairy or chocolate. Nice options for when you have an intolerant dinner guest or you’re looking for a dairy free option yourself. The first recipe I’m sharing today is made with meringue and blood orange. The second is a pear compote with gingerbread, I’ll post that recipe later this month!

Dairy free Blood Orange and Meringue dessert

Dairy free Blood orange & Meringue dessert

Makes 2 desserts

3 blood oranges
1/2 regular orange
1 passion fruit
3 tablespoons of sugar
Two handfuls of Elisabeth chocolatier’s tasty meringue, broken into little pieces.
A few fresh mint leaves

Juice 2,5 blood oranges and heat the juice in a sauce pan with about 2-3 tablespoons of sugar (or to taste). Do this on a medium fire and let simmer for about ten minutes.

Peel and slice the rest of your regular and blood oranges into thin pieces. Slice your passion fruit in half.

Take two medium sized glasses and layer a slice of regular orange on the bottom. Next, add the sauce and the meringue. Add the seeds of half a passion fruit to each glass and decorate with a slice of blood orange. Finish by adding a couple of mint leaves for a fresh touch.

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 Dairy free Blood Orange and Meringue dessert Dairy free Blood Orange and Meringue dessert

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All images of me by Stephanie. Thank you Elisabeth for the lovely afternoon.

Designer dreams with Sevens Ghent

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bag: Balenciaga Le Dix at Sevens

I guess it’s no secret by now that I absolutely love the finer things in fashion. A well-made coat, perfectly crafted shoe or designer bag gets my heart rate up in a second. My dear friend Nathalie has become my number one partner in crime when it comes to sharing the love for luxury fashion, so when she asked me to be part of this project she was working on with Sevens, I couldn’t help myself from screaming “YES!”.

Sevens is a sublime boutique in Ghent that has been offering a well-curated selection of designer bags for the past 30 years and has just recently opened a footwear store. We had the honor to shoot some of the most eye-catching designs of the season and do an interesting Q&A with Karin Sevens, the founder and driving force behind Sevens. Read on to discover the story behind this lovely shop and learn all about the evolution in the world of luxury leather goods over the years.

Oh and get ready for some serious designer goods craving. I’m absolutely in love with the Balenciaga Le Dix pictured above, not to mention those Balenciaga shoes (wow!). What’s your favorite?

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bag: Fendi 3Jours at Sevens //jacket: Essentiel // Lies Wambacq earrings // top: Magdalena ss15 (available next spring) // pants: Mih
bag: Chloé Drew at Sevens // coat: COS // shirt: Arrow // pants: & Other Stories

Can you give us a quick history of Sevens in bullet points? 

  • April 1985: OPENING in 1985 starting with the following brands: Il Bisonte. Ferre, Krizia, Valentino, Trussardi & De Vecchi
  • 1992: Prada was added to the collection
  • 2001: Bottega Veneta and Gucci as newcomers
  • 2008: extension and renovation of the store
  • 2008: Chloé and Balenciaga, the first non Italian brands were added
  • 2014: Opening of the footwear boutique

shoes: Balenciaga at Sevens
fringe bag: Miu Miu at Sevens // dress: Scapa Sport // hat: & Other Stories

What made you decide to open up shop in Ghent about 30 years ago? Where did your love for luxury leather goods come from?

From my mother I inherited the love for beauty and quality in materials, fabrics and tastes. As a child, I was stunned by everything I saw at the couturier where my mom had her clothes made: the fabrics, the buttons, the pin cushions, the ‘toiles’, all the details… I just couldn’t get enough of it. She also chose her bags with the utmost detail and care. In the 50’s and 60’s you only had a few bags, for life. I remember a beautiful black croco bag and a taupe suède Gucci bag.

After studying Art History, my love for all things design grew even more. My mother passed away. And I decided with the help of my husband, Hugo, to start up a designer bag boutique in the spirit of her elegance. There wasn’t much to find on the Belgian market until then. Only things such as Delvaux, Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès.

I’ve always had a deep love for Italy and so it was my biggest source of inspiration for accessories at that moment. Gianfranco Ferré was the first to create an accessories and bags collection completely isolated from his couture line at that moment. I knew I had to introduce Italian leather goods into Ghent, my hometown. It’s always been my goal to bring refinement in quality and design into the life of my clients. In 1991 Muiccia Prada was the example of dazzling creativity and had to become a part of Sevens. In the years to come I added even more Italian names such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Fendi to our offering. Chloé and Balenciaga, two French houses, bring a flair of nonchalance and a young accent to our store.

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bag: Balenciaga at Sevens // bracelet: Balenciaga at Sevens // blue pumps: Gianvito Rossi at Sevens // shirt: COS // pants: Isabel Marant pour H&M
bag: Chloé Dalston at Sevens // jacket: Essentiel

What is your all time favorite bag?

The Bowling bag from Prada from the year 2000 & the large Peekaboo bag from Fendi.

You have seen a lot of change in the industry over the years. Tell us about the evolution of the luxury fashion industry.

One of my friends, Pieter Coene, won the “Gouden Spoel” when graduating from the Fashion Academy of Antwerp. I remember one of his statements: he was afraid of the temporary, the volatility of the concept ‘fashion’. He refused to become part of the rat race of commercial fashion. His career has taken another turn these days. I sometimes fear that fashion has become a snake that eats its own tale. Seasons follow each other faster and faster. The intrinsic value of a creation and the materials it’s made of are declining year after year. Such a shame, because a lot of craftsmanship and love go into them. I hope that one day, the slow fashion movement will gain importance and the value of a design will be restored. I see a lot of clients who still appreciate timeless design and long-lasting commitment to the things they buy.

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bag: Prada at Sevens // dress: Attic And Barn
bag: Chloé Drew at Sevens // coat: COS // shirt: Arrow

What has changed in the retail industry and on client level in Belgium over the years? How do you, as an expert, see this evolve in the future?

The rise of e-commerce has changed a lot in this business. I used to be able to surprise my clients with new styles, new materials. Now they already know the collections from the internet, instagram etc. They know exactly what they come looking for in store. I’m convinced that, when it comes to investments as big as designer bags, you have to feel, smell and try it on for size. The olfactory of a bag can never be illustrated online as in real life. I love being able to give people the right advice based on my personal expertise and see them walking out of my store with the face of a child on Christmas morning: with the gift of a lifetime. Something the internet will never be able to replace.

What advice do you give women when they come looking for a new or first designer bag?

There’s no magical formula for selling someone a designer bag. It’s a very personal story and it takes years of expertise and insight into the style and psyche of women to get it right. I look at the personal style and appearance of a woman. Based on that, their story and preferences I make a suggestion. I do the same for men who come looking for a bag to gift to their loved one. I ask them to describe her as good as possible. I love it when people return with pleasure to the store because they remember my good and honest advice. There’s nothing more rewarding, than making the right choice together with my clients. I always try to send them out the door with a timeless bag that’ll last a lifetime and feels like it’s made for them.

patricia

bag: Fendi 3Jours at Sevens //jacket: Essentiel // Lies Wambacq earrings// top: Magdalena ss15 (available next spring) // pants: Mih
bag: Chloé Dalston at Sevens // jacket: Essentiel // skirt: vintage Gerard Darel // shoes : Zign at Zalando
bag: Chloé Drew at Sevens // shoes: Gianvito Rossi at Sevens

Why do people like Sevens? What has made them come over for about 30 years now you think? What is your magical ingredient?

I think it’s the personal bond you build with your clients. As I said before, this is very personal and requires some expertise. I hope people feel that I make it my goal to send them home with the perfect bag. I never try to force a sale on someone. I seek to handle my business in an honest and passionate way. People who like that approach will notice and come back time and time again.

What are the future bag trends according to you?

When it comes to materials, I don’t see a lot of big innovations. Whether it’s the lack of time or that brands don’t want to take to many risks these days, leather is the main focus all around. Young designers have a lot of great ideas, but on the other hand, lack the financial means. People also prefer to invest in a leather bag, it makes them feel like they get their money’s worth. No harm in that either, leather is still one of the most beautiful, strong and versatile materials to work with. When it comes to styles: the more the merrier! We are seeing this micro trend of micro bags at the moment, but that won’t last for long in my opinion. Every brand has a wide variety in shapes and sizes and it seams like they will be keeping that up in the seasons to come. Of course certain styles will be more popular at certain moments, but in the end, they all stay equally interesting. I look at bags as a “lifetime” thing, those will be the ones you’ll find at Sevens.

You recently expanded your business into luxury footwear as well. Do you think shoes and bags should match? Do you base your selections on that thought? Or do you simply fall in love with individual bag and shoe designs?

It’s nice if bags and shoes match, but it’s not an issue if they don’t. When I select my items, I fall in love with every single piece I buy. I trust my gut feeling. And in the end, isn’t it easier to sell something you truly love, than something you picked for mere style reasons? It’s all about elegance and quality, those things will always combine like a charm.

Which bag would you recommend to young fashionable women like us? What should we invest in and why?

It’s very hard to state this for a group of women. As explained higher up in this interview, I base my advice on very personal parameters. I suggest you come and pay a visit to our store to find out what will be your personal, perfect bag. I’ll be glad to make time for you.

fringe bag: Miu Miu at Sevens // dress: Scapa Sport // hat: & Other Stories
bag: Prada at Sevens // dress: Attic And Barn

You can visit Sevens at: Henegouwenstraat 38 9000 Ghent.

Mon 2 pm – 6 pm
Tue-Sat 11 am – 6pm.

Make sure to follow them on Instagram and Facebook!

Thank you to the Sevens team for this lovely collab and to Nathalie for involving me and doing the interview!

Photos by the ever so talented Michiel Pelerents.

How Blogs Work

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Those of you who follow me on instagram may have already spotted a few weeks ago that I’m featured in a book! Not just a book, a book about blogging! And it’s a good one! Yes, Stéphanie Duval of 70percentpure wrote down all her knowledge on the matter and interviewed me and some fellow bloggers about their blogging trajectory.

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There was no doubt in my mind that Steph was going to do an amazing job, but she really outdid herself. What makes it extra fun, is that you really hear / feel her voice when reading the book. Maybe it’s because I know her, but it’s almost as if we’re talking one on one about the matter. I still get a little thrill every time I see the cover pop up in someone’s Instagram feed, because I keep forgetting that all these people that are buying the book, might be reading my story as well!

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Even though I’d been blogging for over eight years (not on NGNG, but you can read all about that here) I’ve found the handbook to be super inspiring! It’s great to read other bloggers’ stories, pick up some new tricks and get confirmation about what you’re doing. For those of you who understand Dutch and don’t have the book yet: get it here!

One + Weekend Blog Awards

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I almost can’t believe it myself, but No Glitter No Glory has turned one year old today! This year has gone faster than I could have ever imagined, and I’ve enjoyed this little place on the internet that is truly my own. Somehow it has helped me rediscover my love for things I thought I’d never have time for after I graduated university, like geeking out over TV-shows and movies, and it has sparked some passions I never knew I was so fond of, like interior design. It’s really been a pleasure!

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Some of you may know that before there was No Glitter No Glory, there was Ella & Louise, a blog that I’m proud to say has won the Weekend Blog Award in the Fashion category not one, but two times in the past two years. Something that felt like a great reward, and I can truly say Marijs and I were surprised both times our name was called.

I’m so honored to be nominated in the Best Newcomer category with No Glitter No Glory (alongside some tough competition including my friend Marijs). I’d be so grateful for your vote, three out of three would be beyond my wildest dreams. You can vote here.

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Images by me & Dieter, Marijs, Sarah Bourguignon, Michiel Pelerents, NathaliePaulien & Tom Verstraeten

Chop Chop

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After I chopped my hair shoulder length last year, I decided to go for a slightly bigger change this fall and have my favorite hairdresser in town Hiske  cut my hair a little shorter. After all, there is no better time than autumn a.k.a the dawn of the New Fashion Year, to embrace sartorial / beauty changes. Now that the initial shock is wearing off (my hair was getting quite long again), I’m happy with the decision of the short bob and excited to start playing around with how to style it.

I sometimes have a hard time letting things go (wardrobe cleanses are my personal hell (Hello, hoarder!)), so I think a little shock therapy every now and then is actually quite healthy! What about you guys? Do you feel like changing things up in your look when fall comes knocking?

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Filippa K top // Acne Jeans // Hair by Hiske at Team Charlottalei (Charlottalei 36, Antwerp – 03 345 75 76)

Young Creatives: Jeroen Lemaitre

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On a quiet July day, while the whole world seemed to be on vacation, I headed back to Leuven. This is the town where I’ve happily spent my teens and early twenties, and the town that is still the home to many of my good friends. It’s also the town that is the home to many nice people I’ve lost contact with over the years, and Jeroen Lemaitre is one of them.

When we were 18 years old, Jeroen, myself, and a bunch of other people organized a big party in Leuven, and somehow we ended up going to our high school prom together. But you know how it goes, a good ten years later we couldn’t really remember the last time we’d seen each other.

Trough facebook I’d already discovered that Jeroen had become a fellow entrepreneur and when he contacted me, we quickly decided that we should meet up for a coffee and this interview. You see, the line of work Jeroen chose was something rather noteworthy, because since this summer, Jeroen has become a taxidermist.

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Can you tell me a little more about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

“I’m Jeroen Lemaitre, 27 years old and I’ve just become an entrepreneur. I’ve worked for VRT before, and my job included making other people’s dreams come true and at some point I thought “I have to make my own dream come true!”. I’m young now, the risks are relatively low. This is the moment to go for it. I’ve always been passionate about taxidermy, even before it became my fulltime job, so the choice was obvious.”

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I honestly wouldn’t know where to begin?

“I started with butterflies, which I learned from youtube. You also have tutorials to make bombs but I chose butterflies. I thought, ok, it’s a start, but I also wanted to be able to stuff other and bigger animals, which wasn’t so easy to learn. You do have a number of taxidermists in Belgium, but taxidermy is somewhat of a “magical sorcerersworld” in the sense that nobody wants to reveal their secrets. It’s a really niche sector and there aren’t any real training programs here, it’s something an expert has to be willing to teach you. I found someone in The Netherlands who wanted to teach me, so I did an internship there with a taxidermist who also works with Jan Fabre and Damien Hirst. It took me six months to get the internship and I’ve been in training for the same amount of time.”

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What is it that attracts you in taxidermy? I can’t imagine it’s a childhood dream?

“It’s something that gets passed down from man to man. It’s craftmanship. Everything you sell passes trough your hands, and that’s something that really attracts me.  In a world that’s so fast paced, it is something slow that you do with passion.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I wanted to become a taxidermist, but it was a combination of so many factors. I began with the butterflies as a hobby, and the reaction people had to my products was amazing. I love the idea of making these little treasures that people cherish, gift, and keep in their homes.”

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// Jeroen’s atelier is also his mother’s. She’s an artist and draws inspiration from Jeroen’s work.//

How do you see yourself?

“Some people see me as an artist, but I sort of see myself as a conserver of beautiful things in nature, a treasure hunter who heads into the jungle and comes back with a suitcase full of wonders. I call myself Mr. Pop Safari, and my motto is “Treasures are collectable”.  I love the fact that my product instigates emotion. People always react to what I do, sometimes negative but mostly positive. It mostly astonishes and fascinates.”

Is it difficult for you to sell these treasures? 

“Yes, because there’s so much emotion involved, it sometimes hurts to sell pieces. But somehow, my customers are always nice people, so that makes it a little easier.”

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Where do you get the animals you sell? Is it possible to approach you after a pet has died to stuff it?

“That used to be possible, but because the law changed a lot in the sixties and seventies, it has become quite difficult to stuff indigenous animals. I get it, it’s to protect nature and prevent people randomly going outside and killing a bird, but it’s a shame for indigenous animals that die of natural causes. All animals I use died from sickness or old age, I don’t want nature to suffer because I want to make something beautiful.

A lot of the animals, like birds or butterflies come from breeders of exotic species. Take the baby ostriches for example, there are always a few birds that are stillborn, and it are those animals that end up in my hands. The blue butterflies I work with, they only live for two weeks or so and afterwards, they can actually just scoop them off the floor.  People also work with zoo but  it’s quite difficult to get foot in the door there.”

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How do you start on something like those baby ostriches?

“Well, you cut them open vertically beneath the beak, all the way down to the neck and belly, and then you skin it. The insides of birds kind of look like chicken, and all of it gets thrown away. You actually recreate the animal with wood and special stuffing, only the skin remains.”

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What is the biggest animal you’ve worked on?

“I think that would be a full-grown ostrich.”

What animal would you like to stuff?

“One day, a giraffe.”

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What inspires you?

“It doesn’t have anything to do with taxidermy, but I am really inspired by Dries Van Noten. His colours, his patterns, his prints…I just love the whole world he creates. I also really admire the Dutch taxidermist Maurice Bouten, he’s extremely good in what he does and wins tons of championships, I think he’s my biggest example.”

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What is your advice for anyone who wants to start something of their own?

“Do it! Make, create, start! Because you can talk about it all you want, but it’s taking action that counts.”

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Shop Jeroen’s wonder world on www.animauxspeciaux.be or in his shop:
Mechelsestraat 37, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Follow Jeroen on Instagram

Last image by Jeroen Lemaitre on Instagram, all other images by me.

Analog Summer Memories

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Summer was too short and has gone by far too quickly, although it has been a good one filled with happy memories with friends and family, travel and the first months in our new home.

My dear friend Sarah took these amazing analog pictures at a Cointreau Fizz Cocktail party on a private rooftop here in Antwerp, and I know these will be pictures to cherish. They portray the atmosphere of the evening so well, a night filled with yummy cocktails, music and the company of ten of my amazing friends. I can’t wait for the summer of 2015 to begin.

   

 

 

All pictures by Sarah Bourguignon.